Rat Hindlimb Cryopreservation and Transplantation: A Step Toward “Organ Banking”

A. Arav, O. Friedman*, Y. Natan, E. Gur, N. Shani

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In 2016, over 5 million reconstructive procedures were performed in the United States. The recent successes of clinical vascularized composite allotransplantations, hand and face transplantations included, established the tremendous potential of these life-enhancing reconstructions. Nevertheless, due to limited availability and lifelong immunosuppression, application is limited. Long-term banking of composite transplants may increase the availability of esthetically compatible parts with partial or complete HLA matching, reducing the risk of rejection and the immunosuppressive burden. The study purpose was to develop efficient protocols for the cryopreservation and transplantation of a complete rodent limb. Directional freezing is a method in which a sample is cooled at a constant-velocity linear temperature gradient, enabling precise control of the process and ice crystal formation. Vitrification is an alternative cryopreservation method in which the sample solidifies without the formation of ice crystals. Testing both methods on a rat hindlimb composite tissue transplantation model, we found reliable, reproducible, and stable ways to preserve composite tissue. We believe that with further research and development, cryopreservation may lead to composite tissue “banks.” This may lead to a paradigm shift from few and far apart emergent surgeries to wide-scale, well-planned, and better-controlled elective surgeries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2820-2828
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Transplantation
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2017


  • basic (laboratory) research/science
  • graft survival
  • organ perfusion and preservation
  • vascularized composite and reconstructive transplantation


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